The second arc of Dark Horse’s Angel & Faith series starts this week with Issue #6, written by Christos Gage and with art by Rebekah Isaacs, and your friendly, neighborhood Comic Book Slayer has staked out a full review for his Scooby gang! I’m proud to report that both Gage and Isaacs are at full force in this issue, as the Angel & Faith series continues to jockey with Buffy: Season 9 for the title of best Whedon comic of 2012!
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #6:
This issue opens with Angel following a lead in Highgate that brings him face-to-face with an insane man with a hacksaw standing over a pile of bodies. Angel easily disarms the man, but he’s too late to help his victims.
We then flashback to 1972 and Giles’ time in the Watcher’s Academy. He and a number of classmates are looking for a vampire in Highgate cemetery, but quickly run into trouble when their vampire turns out to be a much more dangerous Lorophage Demon. The demon feeds on trauma by inserting a needle-like proboscis into the heads of its victims, a process that both drives them insane and kills them. The children are no match for the demon, and all of them are slaughtered, save for Giles, before his father and the other watchers arrive. The incident is so damaging to Giles that he rejects his father and the Watcher’s Council completely, leaving the institution.
Meanwhile, Faith works the streets, stopping a slayer from making the same mistake as her – staking a human. The buzz is that there’s a new vampire in town known as Mother Superior, but she’s playing by Harmony’s “no killing” rules, so the slayers are hesitant to make a move against her for fear of starting a war.
Angel and Faith investigate the recent rash of crazies and come up with leads pointing to Mother Superior and her cult-like following. They decide to crash the converted church/club that’s known to be her hangout.
At the White Hart Pub, the slayers that Faith watches over are approached by an older man with a picture of Faith. He asks if the know her. The slayers play cool, asking why they should tell him. The man simply says, ‘I’m her daddy.’
Back at Mother Superior’s church/club, Angel and Faith finally come face-to-face with Superior herself. Angel is shocked to see that it’s Drusilla. And, she’s sane!
Rupert Giles scores ten points for Gryffindor! Gage gives us a fantastic flashback scene in this issue that takes place during the ‘70s, when a young Rupert Giles was enlisted in the Watcher’s Academy. While it’s always enjoyable to see Giles reappear in the comics, Gage crafts a particularly engaging scene that fits amazingly well into the known Buffy/Angel canon. This one little flashback is so perfect, it left me wondering…where the hell is my Watcher’s Academy TV show, Joss? It’s this ability to seamlessly blend the comic world of Angel & Faith with the TV series we know and love that makes Christos Gage my personal hero.
Dealing with daddies. There’s three of them in this issue (Angel, Faith’s dad, and Giles’ dad) and it seems to be a fair estimation that we’ll be seeing this theme continue as the arc goes forward. I’ve already gushed over the scenes involving Giles’ father, and I’m super intrigued to see the relationship between Faith and her father, especially given the fact that we’ve only ever heard about her drunken, abusive mother. (Fun fact: Apparently, artist Rebekah Isaacs based her depiction of Faith’s dad on Jim Belushi!) Angel, both the character and the show, has always featured the theme of fatherhood, exploring it through many different ways and many different characters (Connor, Holtz, Liam’s father, Roger Wyndam-Pryce, etc.). I can’t wait to see what layers this new arc will add to the series’ use of this classic theme!
Drusilla is back! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Angel reads Douglas Adams? Really? Every now and then, a bit of dialogue that Gage writes for Angel doesn’t feel right to me. In Issue #5, it was the Raymond Chandler reference that had Angel reminiscing about how much he liked to play detective, with beautiful woman walking through his door. In this issue, it’s Angel’s confession about his love for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Does this really seem like something Angel would pick up? I know he has had some oddball passions (Manilow’s “Mandy!”), but this just seems too geeky for the Angel I know. (I will admit, no other fans seemed to have any problem with this. In fact, most of them dug it.)
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is…)
Fan reaction has been good for this issue, with a lot of acclaim for the return of Drusilla and that awesome flashback to Giles’ days in the Watcher’s Academy. The issue got good reviews from The Fandom Post, Fandomania, and BAMFAS.
Where’d Dru’s crazy go? There was a lot of debate on the fan boards about whether Dark Horse would be acknowledging IDW’s Spike miniseries that connected to Buffy: Season 8 and saw Spike leaving Drusilla in the supernatural rehab facility known as Mosaic. Is this where she “got better?” In all reality, given the presence of the Lorophage demon in the final reveal, I’m leaning towards a connection between Dru, the demon, and the new post-Seed world. Also, there’s some buzz (courtesy of Georges Jeanty) that Drusilla will be heading over to Buffy once she wraps up on Angel & Faith.
RIP Ripper. Given how fantastic the ‘70s flashback was, many assumed this bit of awesomeness came from the ill-fated BBC Ripper series Joss Whedon never managed to get on its feet. Thus, we were required to lament. Ah….if only….
This would look so cool in your apartment! Dig this issue’s art as much as I did? Then, buy some HERE and stick on the wall already!
Angel & Faith #6 is a must-buy, Scoobies, and it’s out in comic book shops now! Don’t miss it!
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer